The Lion And The Wolf - Sound In The Signals Interview

Singer/songwriter Thomas George performs as The Lion And The Wolf. The underrated singer started making waves after he released his debut album Symptoms, signed with Xtra Mile Recordings, and he is now set to release his second album on Friday, October 7th. He was kind enough to tell us how a school assembly was part of his beginning in music, what it was like recording in six weeks, and he tells us more about the bonus items, vinyl variants, and the cover artwork for The Cardiac Hotel.

You released your debut album Symptoms in late 2014 and have played over 300 shows since January 2014. You're about to release your second album. Tell us more about your music and background for those who may be unfamiliar.

I guess I was the same as any teenage kid who was into music, so was in bands thinking “this is it, this school assembly is going to be IT, I can feel it. From here on it’s up and up!”. Needless to say it didn’t pan out that way for ‘Coinflip’ as we were known haha. My Mum and Dad used to play a lot of Talking Heads around the house when I was young, that and Paul Simon ‘Graceland’ so I think those two albums are what catalysed my tastes and want to do music. Seeing David Byrne perform in that suit that got bigger and bigger really hypnotised me as a child.

You recently signed to Xtra Mile Recordings after being featured on their Xtra Mile High Club Vol.5: Smokin’ (Signed vs Unsigned) label compilation. What makes this the perfect fit for you? What vision do you share?

Xtra Mile are a great label and have had an amazing family-ethos which is pretty much how us working together came about. I was introduced to them via that compilation and then I was put on tour with various acts on their roster. Northcote, Billy the Kid, PJ Bond and Rob Lynch who put me forward for the comp. It seemed like a perfect fit and I am really chuffed to be part of the XM family. I can remember us talking about the album in a pub in East London on the last date of the Northcote tour and we just clicked straight away with a common goal.

Your upcoming album The Cardiac Hotel is due out October 7th. It's a beautifully written and performed album. It's a deeply personal album, but very relatable. I understand that you recorded it in 6 weeks in the basement of Auckland House with Red Squirrel Productions. Tell us more about recording the album. How did this compare to your debut album?

Firstly thank you for saying so, we had such an amazing time recording it all. I moved in for those 6 weeks and we just went downstairs every single day and worked at it. It differs to ‘Symptoms’ because it is a record that wasn’t built around an acoustic guitar and a click track. We recorded two tracks (My Father’s Eyes and Bar Stools) earlier on as a single and wanted to keep to the same style which was effectively performing the songs live. It gives the record a much more live feel as well as having subtle nuances and mistakes which give it character and colour I feel. One similarity though is the fact we used zero digital plug-ins again.

You released a video for "Heaven Forbid" which was filmed in the Ventnor / Bonchurch area on the Isle of Wight. The area was supposedly silent at night when filming. The location adds so much to the video and I think you can definitely feel that element to it when watching. Tell us more about filming this video, the concept, and that location.

The video was shot by Luke Bridgeman who also did the previous single ‘Ghosts on Trinity’ back in 2015. I thought up the idea quite a while back when sitting in my local pub and thinking how sinister it would be for a silent guy in a suit to walk into a pub and lure the population of a town down to hell. Dan Trevanna was amazing as “The Suit” he looked so sinister. The tunnel scene at the end we did almost silently as it was a local area and 1am in the morning, so we had to do a bit of guerilla filming and do it as quickly as possible. Everybody in the video is a local Ventnor resident so it has a strong community feel as well which is important for me.

Each pre-order comes with a high quality digital lyrics booklet and automatic entry to win 1 of 11 handwritten lyric sheets. Tell us more about the bonus items, the vinyl variants for the album, and the cover artwork. It's quite a nice package.

Thanks, I’m glad you think so! For me, it’s important for people to get good value when they invest in your art. I would never want to put up a pre-order that had no options or variants as I, personally, love it when a band gets inventive or goes that extra mile (excuse the pun) to make their package stand out a little more. The handwritten lyric sheets were put together with illustrations that I have used over the years, mainly for merch but also my logo which I still think is my favourite illustration somebody has done for me. The cover artwork was a photo of some flowers I bought for my friend Georgie who was kind enough to put me up for six weeks over Christmas last year whilst I worked to try and pay off the album. The design and packaging was put together by my good friend Michael Imhof (Wallze Design and Poster Art). She sent me that photo a week or so after I bought them for her and it struck me as a beautiful image. Wilting, old but still full of life and colour which, to me, really struck a chord.

You will play some shows in October and then you'll be touring with Will Varley this November. This will be the first time you'll tour as a three piece. You've said "I'm excited to show how the songs work in a louder capacity". Have you been practicing? How does it change or enhance the performance? What new things have you had to ponder for performing as a three piece?

We’ve been practicing non stop in the build up for these full band dates. At present the Will Varley tour will be a three piece which will be fun. I like the fact that my songs are being performed in a full band capacity because even though TLATW will always, primarily, be a solo project - having the opportunity to bring more layers and loudness to the table feels like a natural progression and I think the songs sound great with the backing band. Plus the guys playing with me recorded the album so it makes so much sense.

While fans wait for the release and the upcoming tour dates, can you tease anything about what they can expect on the album? Although it's not on the album, I saw you mentioned covering a Death Cab For Cutie song. Will we get to hear this soon?

Yeah the Death Cab For Cutie cover will be aired at some point in October. I had no real idea just how much everything is meticulously planned in the build up to a record as ‘Symptoms’ had been a casual, DIY affair. With this release there is a whole team behind the build up so we email ideas and plans a LOT. It will be released pretty soon though. In regards to the album I hope that people can feel a natural progression from the first album. To me, it feels like a far more mature record with deep thought and meaning whereas ‘Symptoms’, as much as I still love that album and always will, was essentially a collection of songs I had compiled over the previous 4 years.

Thanks for the interview. Do you have anything else you would like to add?

No thank YOU for the interview. I hope you enjoy the record and see you soon!

Pre-order The Cardiac Hotel on iTunes and CD/vinyl copies.

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